Updated: 05/16/2014 5:57 PM
Created: 05/16/2014 9:01 AM WNYT.com
By: Mark Mulholland
GLENS FALLS - Residents of the Glens Falls-area were celebrating Friday morning.
It was equal parts pep rally and news conference in Heritage Hall, the banquet space inside the Glens Falls Civic Center.
"Our goal will be to create lasting memories for fans of all ages," said Brian Petrovek, president of the Adirondack Flames.
A couple hundred Glens Falls-area hockey fans were in attendance Friday, celebrating the arrival of their new team, the Adirondack Flames, the top farm club of the N.H.L's Calgary Flames.
"On behalf of the Flames, we are just thrilled to be your partner," said Brad Treliving, general manager of the Calgary Flames.
The Flames replace the Phantoms, who moved to Pennsylvania at the end of their 5th season.
Speaker after speaker Friday credited Jack Diamond, the city's mayor and Ed Bartholomew, the county economic development director, with not resting until they'd lured another American Hockey League team to Glens Falls.
The taxpayer-funded civic center can't survive without it.
"It's critical," said Mayor Diamond. "To stabilize the operations here. It's always been a challenge. It's been a challenge since 1979, we're not going to fix it overnight, but having a team here stabilizes the operations here."
It also helps Glens Falls businesses like Gourmet Café, eager to feed hungry hockey fans.
"It's fabulous news. It just continues the tradition of having 40 nights a year with a few thousand people coming downtown," said Francis Willis, owner of the restaurant, just up Glen Street from the arena.
The Flames have a three year-contract with the city for an option for two more. They're wasting no time. Tickets went on sale, shortly after the news conference.
"We're here today to do business and start developing relationships with opening night only 147 days away," said Petrovek.
“It's exciting. It's exciting for our community, our building, our hockey fan base,” said Glens Falls Mayor Diamond. “We have some of the best fans in the country for American hockey, but from an economic standpoint, it helps to contribute to the bottom line of our community, so it's an exciting day to keep the tradition going.”
The Adirondack Flames begin play in September.